Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Billings in Yellowstone County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Billings Townsite Historic District

 
 
Billings Townsite Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
1. Billings Townsite Historic District Marker
Inscription.  At the turn of the twentieth century, Billings was ready to shed its frontier image as a rough-and-tumble cowtown and emerge as a regional commercial center. Billings was already at the juncture of the Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railroads and soon the Great Northern extended its tracks to the growing city. Platted in 1882 and named for a former railroad president, Billings became the transportation hub of the northern plains. The earliest business district was here at the center of the townsite grid. Business activity gradually moved to the northwest as the area near the tracks gained new purpose by catering to travelers. Between 1900 and 1920, a dozen hotels and many attendant businesses crowded into the area. In 1911 a splendid depot, electric street lights, cement sidewalks, and brick-paved streets greeted visiting President Howard Taft who pronounced Billings "the center of the development of the arid west." Indeed, almost 10,000 homesteaders claimed land at the Billings land office between 1909 and 1914, and local hotels supported a daily transient population of at least l,000. Billings, nicknamed "Magic City"
Billings Townsite Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
2. Billings Townsite Historic District Marker
for its early rapid growth, continued to mature through the 1910s. The eventual demise of rail travel left its early-twentieth-century buildings vulnerable but thanks to early preservation efforts the district remains as an intact expression of turn-of-the-century commercial architecture. These buildings, along with the splendid depot and tracks which symbolize the town's "magical" beginnings, preside over what was once the heart of the townsite.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings.
 
Location. 45° 47.009′ N, 108° 30.004′ W. Marker is in Billings, Montana, in Yellowstone County. Marker is on Montana Avenue (Business Interstate 90) near North 23rd Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2404 Montana Avenue, Billings MT 59101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rex Hotel (a few steps from this marker); The Northern Pacific Depot - 1909 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Beanery - 1909 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Oxford Hotel - 1918 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Eagle Hotel - circa 1905 (within shouting distance of this marker);
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Northern Pacific Depot "Union Station" (within shouting distance of this marker); The Billings Brewery - Opened in 1899 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Flood of 1937 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Billings.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 4, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 43 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 4, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 6, 2021